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Leave It All Behind

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The darker than dark shape surged forward until it filled my vision entirely. The thing was immense. Stretching up for what seemed like an eternity, and as wide as anything I had seen before, There is absolutely nothing wrong with an average life. But when mine came to a sudden and unexpected end things started to diverge from the average quite a bit. When the grim reaper comes to call and he offers you a second chance in a brand new world... well would you say no?

Scifi / Action
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

If I said that my life was boring would you take it as an insult? Because I am pretty sure that my life was just as boring as anyone else’s. If I had to describe the things that had happened to me, I would probably say that they were incredibly average. I had fallen in love once or twice, graduated from university with a fairly okay grade, and become stuck in a bog standard job that had nothing to do with the university fees that I was now paying off. I went out to drink with the lads once a night, feel worse for it in the morning, and then have it shaken off again for the weekly grind. Like I said, monumentally average. If your life plays out just like that… well don’t be too offended, I would say average is good. Like don’t get me wrong here, something a bit more interesting from time to time would be nice, but there was no way I would describe things as bad… just average and sometimes boring.

Everything was average until it wasn’t. I mean no one’s life can be average forever. There has to be outliers, things that skew the results, that even happens in the most scientific studies so really it was only a matter of time before something out of the ordinary happened to me. Something so world shatteringly life altering that nothing would be the same again. I don’t mean that in the way of breaking up with someone or getting married either, those may be life altering but they are still pretty average and normal. No what I’m getting at here is something so out of the ordinary that you can’t ever look back from it, an event that changes the very fiber of your being.

The day started off as averagely as any other for the last twenty three years had. It was a monday, and as such I was immediately in a pretty foul mood. The saturday just past had been a minor outlier from the norm, a night where we had all got so absolutely off our heads that we’d likely all be feeling it through till next weekend at the very least. The headache wasn’t as violently skull crushing as it had been on Sunday, but it was still present, and that dull ache in my ribs that signified a punch or a tumble into a chest high wall probably wasn’t going to disappear any time soon either. Not even my morningly bowl of coco-pops were enough to cheer me up.

It was during that bowl of sugary morning cereal that I began to feel a little odd. You know how when something big is going to happen you can sort of feel it before it does. There’s this charged tinge to the air, an electric buzz and the slight hint of ionization at the back of your throat. As if the events of the upcoming day were somehow so large and powerful that their repercussions were rippling back through time. If the event were an earthquake in the fabric of my life the ripples back to that morning could only be described as a tsunami, drenching me in a definite sense of unease. I passed it off as an effect of the hangover. The milk and lingering alcohol in my system were probably just mixing together to create an unholy mix in the pit of my stomach, and that was the reason I was feeling so uneasy. Probably.

Nevertheless I decided to go on with the day. Mondays were important after all. Though they were by no doubts the worst day of the week they also set a precedent for how the rest of the week would go. If you had a great monday then the rest of the week was probably going to be pretty good, if you had a terrible monday then the chances were that terribleness would seep through to the rest of the week, or at the very least Wednesday. I was determined to make the day a good one, no matter how much uneasiness was squirming around in the pit of my stomach.

My phone buzzed. I let my spoon sit in the bowl of discoloured milk and soggy chocolate cereal and checked the messages, it was Sophie. Now, seeing as I have labelled myself quite possibly one of the most average men alive it goes to follow that I would also have an equally average longing for someone in my life. In my case it was Sophie. She was, as cliche as it sounded, everything I could want in a woman. If I were the average guy then she was the average manic pixie dream girl that captures the heart of the average guy. Again, yes it was a cliche, but cliches are such because of a reason and that is usually because of how often they crop up.

I’ll be at yours in like ten minutes, so get your ass in gear and be ready the text read.

“Damn it,” I muttered.

This was typical of Sophie. She was a whirlwind of activity, and while carpooling with her satisfied both my wallet and my bleeding heart I couldn’t help but wish she would for once break her trend of being early and instead be late for once. Especially today with a blanket of dread hanging over me. I hadn’t showered since Saturday. I tentatively gave my pits a sniff, swore under my breath, and discarded the remnants of my morning meal. I needed to shower, and there was no way I would be ready by the time Sophie arrived.

The steaming hot water of my walk in shower turned out to be exactly what I needed. As the rivulets of cleansing liquid cascaded across my torso, which had gained an unsightly purple blotch in the obvious shape of a fist, I felt as if I were being purified. Whether it was the water washing me clean of my sweat or the heat sinking its way into my bruised muscles and bones I didn’t know, but it felt good. I shook myself out of my relaxation and finished the shower, by now Sophie had probably arrived and let herself in with the key. If I kept her waiting then she would only get more and more pissed off.

There are probably worse things than having your crush see you naked, save for a towel, and dripping wet in your own hallway. But as my blood rushed to my cheeks in a violent blush I couldn’t come up with anything that could fit the bill.

“Are you kidding me Craig?” She snapped, her arms crossed against her chest and her eyes narrowed in a way that I found to be synonymous with an immediate dressing down. I didn’t really expect her face to soften and one of her hands to go to her mouth in shock. “What the hell happened to your chest, Craig?”

I glanced down at the offending area and noticed that the shower had brought the bruise out even more, an angry purple blotch surrounded by an ugly yellowish hue. It looked as if I had been in a serious fight, not that I remembered any of it.

“I guess… things might have gotten a bit rough on Saturday?” I responded, trying to sound nonchalant but likely failing to hide all of my worry about the injury.

“I keep telling you that going out with the guys from work is going to lead to trouble,” she chastised. “They’re rough Craig and you…” she petered off, either uncertain of what she was going to say or unwilling to actually come out with it.

“I’m what Sophie? Some sort of loser who can’t handle himself?” I shot back, my temper flaring for no real reason.

“Well no I didn’t say that… but…”

“But what?”

“Well for god’s sake just look at you! Your chest looks absolutely horrible, and it’s not like this is the first time this has happened is it? There was the time when you broke your finger on some guy’s jaw, and the time you sprained your ankle running away from a bar brawl and you had to use crutches for a week. What’s it going to be next time Craig? Am I going to text you one day and get a response from some nurse or doctor claiming you’re in hospital?” She ranted.

I was a little taken aback. After a good night almost everyone would come home with a scrape or two, it was just the done thing. Sure I was a little worse at handling myself than some of the other lads, I mean one of them was a black belt in karate so of course he had no worries defending himself. But it was more than that. Perhaps I would have expected this sort of reaction from my Mum or some other relative, but Sophie was just a friend. I didn’t realise she cared so much, and I didn’t have a response to that care. I wanted to yell and shout at her that I found things so mind numbingly boring that a night to just lose myself completely was what I needed. I wanted to tell her that I was depressed. I wanted to tell her that maybe I could change, and that maybe we should make a go fo it. But every rebuke and every response died in my throat when I saw the tears spill over the lids of her eyes.

“You know what… Screw you Craig. I’m done trying to patch you up after your crazy Saturdays. You can find your own way to work today,” she snarled, turning on her heel and storming down the stairs of my flat. I

felt a choked sob push its way from my chest, but it didn’t feel like my own. As I got dressed for work my mind was in a haze and I couldn’t help but think about the fantastic friendship my own selfish idiocy might have pushed away. The fact that fantastic friendship probably could have been more burned in my chest so hard that it hurt. It was a fire lapping at the very core of my being, one that was blazing out of control now that I may have lost her. So much for the monday being a good one. This week was probably going to suck beyond belief.

But even when I slammed my flat’s door behind me and began the ten minute walk to the nearest bus stop I couldn’t have guessed just how bad that week was going to become. A rocky patch in a friendship that had lasted for years? That was an average problem. It wasn’t big enough to ripple back and make me feel uneasy, and that unease was still there. Writhing away underneath the burning pain in my chest that had made my head feel so hazy. Something was still yet to come, and as I took each step forward I felt the unease grow.

I had always found zebra crossings to be a bit of a nuisance. When I was in a car I felt indignation at the fact a single person would cause entire buses and car loads of people to stop for them as they crossed the street, it felt wrong to give a single person so much sway across so many others. On the flip side, I had to admit that there was a certain power in being the one who held that sway. If you were the one standing at the zebra crossing and making cars stop to you there was a brief moment of thrill, a sense of importance, that would make anyone stop dead in their tracks so that you could pass. At least that’s how things were meant to work.

She was a kid. She was a kid with headphones on completely engrossed in whatever was happening on her mobile phone. She was a kid with headphones on completely engrossed in whatever was happening on her mobile phone and she couldn’t hear the sirens. Everything was average until it wasn’t. This was it. The moment that everything had been leading to. The major life shattering world altering event that had rippled back in time to create an unease that was now writhing so powerfully in my gut that it had overtaken my pangs of heartbreak and my remnants of hangover. It was time.

The sirens belonged to a police car, one that was chasing down a speeding van. While the police were steadily gaining on the criminal at the helm of the van it was clear that they weren’t going to be able to stop it before it got to the zebra crossing. It was equally obvious that the kid with her headphones and her phone and her complete lack of awareness was never going to make it across the zebra crossing that was meant to stop all traffic at any time before the van got there. Time slowed, my legs began to move of their own accord. In three large strides I had made it to the center of the zebra crossing, I had pushed the little girl out of the way.

Then the van hit me.

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